The brainchild of Neville Marriner, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields was founded in 1959, quickly becoming an example of the highest level of chamber musicianship in Britain, paving the way for the revival of Baroque performances.
Described by Denis Stevens as owning ‘more sense of style than all the chamber orchestras in Europe’, the Academy made a prolific number of recordings over the years, becoming the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world.
Having taken conducting lessons from Pierre Monteux, Marriner became known for his rhythmic and precise style, and was responsible for the refined string sound for which the Academy became famous.
Marriner’s rendition of Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian’ Symphony is energetic and committed, yet sensitively communicated. Rolfe-Johnson’s Proms performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations took place at the height of his career. He performed at the world’s major opera chouses (the Royal Opera House, La Scala, The Met) and with major orchestras (New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra), recording mainly for Hyperion. This performance is utterly convincing.
Beethoven’s Große Fuge is a performance of Marriner’s own arrangement for chamber orchestra. Their recording of Beethoven 3 is described in the Penguin Guide as having the impression ‘of weight and strength, coupled with a rare transparency of texture and extraordinary resilience of rhythm’.
The ‘interpretive skill and musicianship’ of Marriner and the ASMF, his ‘superb ensemble’ are described in the Penguin Guide featuring Marriner’s recording of the Handel Concerti grossi on Decca.
This is the first DVD release of this material.
Picture format: 4:3
Running time: 86’
Menu languages: English
Booklet languages: E/F/G
Region code: 0
Territory Restrictions: None
“As the Academy of St Martin in the Fields continues on into its sixth decade...this collection provides a worthwhile reminder of its length of service and the range of its founder...Despite their use of modern instruments and vibrato, Academy of St Martin in the Fields's music-making here is clean and decisive, their unhurried account of the Arrivel of the Queen of Sheba spry and animated.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.